Wednesday, December 30, 2020

HOUSE MOUNTAIN #175: Hiking Theology (published 12-30-2020)


House Mountain hike #175 (my eleventh hike there this year) is in the record! (This was also my 39th hike on “My Mountain” with “bionic” joints.) The hike was earlier today.

My ol' truck and I had attempted to get to House Mountain, about seven miles away, on Christmas Day, when six inches of snow was still on the ground. That day, the weather was mostly cloudy. The high was 28 degrees Fahrenheit. I had hopes! We tried three different routes, but the snow and ice on the roads stopped us. We could have gone another, longer and easier, route, but Hogskin Road would have been impossible, most likely. Beaten, but not defeated, we returned home.

Photographs and Comments

Today, anticipating a muddy and too warm hike, I decided to hike the two loop trails only, with the possibility that I could climb the ridge, if I decided to do so. I had on a T-shirt and short sleeve shirt only. (Well, I had on jeans, shoes, and ball cap also, in case you were wondering. Yes, I also wore underwear and socks!)

That's what they had decided to name the lower level parking lot. I had to park my truck in that parking area, since the upper and main parking area was full. It is Wednesday! The weather and mud are not great! Why are so many hiking today?

The above photograph is looking east, from where I had hiked. It is an easy little trail. You can turn left or right, on the loop, which is behind me. I turned right, to go up. (We all need to turn right, to go up.)

After I had hiked right and up, I arrived here. The above photograph is looking northeast. I had reached the main, or upper, parking area. They call the east, or lower, loop trail “Right Sawmill Trail.” I think that, decades ago, a sawmill used to be in the area. The trail name continues the heritage.

Seconds after I had taken the “Right Sawmill Trail” photograph, I turned left, to look southwest. This is a partial view of the upper parking area. The man, in the image, was kicking mud off his shoes. The information board, on the lower left side, has my photograph of the mountain, from a middle bluff, that I had taken years ago, in the snow. My name, “Marion Ferrell,” is on the photograph.

I had walked farther southwest, a few yards, past the information board, which is behind me now, to take the above photograph. The view still look southwest. They call this upper west loop trail the “Left Sawmill Loop.”

The above trail sign is the one that I touch, to check my time on my watch, as I start hiking up the west trail, to the west bluff. It is nine tenths of a mile up, with six switchbacks, after you get past the lower switchbacks. The trail will challenge you. I touch my rock, on the west bluff, to check my time hiking up, by my watch. I can now hike up, in 30 to 34 minutes. My average “pre-bionic joints” time was 24 to 26 minutes. My right foot and knee still slow me down – for now.

Today, I just “hiked” the two little loop trails. I will explain.

After I had finished the “Left Sawmill Loop,” I turned left, heading northwest. I had to see how muddy it might be! I had not gone up the trail too far yet. I am still at the base of the mountain. The above image is good enough to show the mud. I have stepped across the rocks many times, with and without “bionic” joints, to keep climbing up, through the other muddy spots that I know well. Today, I decided that I would not “enjoy another muddy hike.” I have taken several of them.

I had walked back, past the information board, in the upper parking area. (I always touch my photograph, on the information board.) I hiked back down to my truck, in the lower parking area. The above photograph shows my truck prominently. Twelve other vehicles were parked. My truck was number thirteen! Realizing that, my truck told me to get him out of there! He didn't want to be number thirteen!


My stubborn will was determined to get House Mountain hike #175 done, before the end of 2020. I did it. I knew that I would.

Yesterday, at my annual physical, my good doctor and friend had stated what I already knew. He remarked that my strong will had motivated my recovery to this point. I knew it already. We enjoyed a laugh. I had inspired my good doctor and friend.

Beaten, but not defeated, by life, we go Home eventually – if we have lived according to the grace that we received through Christ Jesus. In everlasting life, Home will be wonderful! That is what my House Mountain hike #175, today, brings to my mind. I hope that this article benefits you in the same way. Hiking theology does work.

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